Sealing in slurry

With an industry history spanning over 60 years, Motion Australia’s in-house sealing specialists, Seal Innovations (SiL), are aptly named as the SiL team specialises in designing innovative sealing solutions that secure and protect valuable materials on mining and ore processing applications.

Seal Innovations national key account manager Raj Jadow explained the role of a seal in application.

“To seal, is an act of securing something closed, making it impervious to outside influences. When one thinks of sealing up an object, it conjures an image of protecting valuable and important contents,” Jadow said.

Jadow believes that implementing good sealing solutions on slurry pump applications is an important—yet often overlooked—consideration for mining and ore processing applications.

“In the mining sector, slurry pump applications are an essential and critical part of operations, and the seals on these types of applications are often the weakest link,” he said.

“Designing exceptional sealing solutions for slurry pumps requires a deep understanding of the challenges that slurry pumps may encounter during the transfer of slurry across long distances on mine sites.”

Slurry is a heavy consistency liquid mixture of water, soil, rock, ferrous and non-ferrous materials that can range in size from 1mm to 25mm in thickness.

According to Jadow, slurry pumps are often subject to the effects of corrosion, and these corrosive materials can leak onto the pump shaft and bolting assembly, causing the pump to fail.

“A leak that incurs corrosion or starts the gradual erosion process of pump wear can damage the mechanical system and impede the flow of materials,” Jadow explained.

“When you have a hyper saline or chemical environment, it will lead to seal corrosion. This problem can be aggravated if there’s erosion in pump parts, leading to material crystallising around sealing surfaces.”

Another major cause of seal failure is the effects of wear and abrasion from the transport of heavy and aggressive materials, according to Jadow.

“If excessive wear occurs, it can also cause build-up of materials through fluid crystallisation,” he explained.

“Incidental build-up on the inner walls of the pump system will ultimately result in an insufficient flow and passage of the slurry, which in turn will force the water pressure to increase.”

“The excessive force of water pressure then creates friction against the seal, which can be worsened if the seal is tightened against the force and could cause a major leak to spring.”

To prevent untimely seal failures on slurry pumps, Jadow suggested a combination of selecting the right seal material, ensuring correct installation, pump start-up procedure, and optimised pressure and flow of clean flush water.

When it comes to selecting the right seal for slurry pump applications in heavy industries such as mining, mineral processing, oil and gas, Seal Innovations has developed a full spectrum range of single and hybrid sealing solution products, including O-rings, mechanical seals, and gland packing components.

Seal Innovations’ Heavy-Duty Mechanical Seals are the most premium sealing solution for slurry pumps, according to Jadow.

“Mechanical seals are installed by clamping onto a slurry pump and are constructed from carbide seal faces,” he said.

“These are a more customised investment for a pump application, but they are the most effective in helping to manage water flow and they prevent clogging with spring loaded elastomer parts that are designed for draining debris.”

The Mechanical Seals are available with an accompanying Water Management system that saves a lot of energy, water, and cost involved in the maintenance of slurry pump applications.

A cost-effective alternative to mechanical sealing solutions is gland packing seals, designed to allow for drainage of the system by way of controlled leakage.

Significantly, the Seal Innovations P4 gland packing ring sets, consists of four different styles of pre-cut gland packings designed to fit different pump sizes in heavy-duty slurry pumping applications.

Each P4 pre-cut packing is constructed from a different packing material, designed to respectively stand up to chemicals, abrasion, and water pressure.

“The feedback we have received is that our customers are seeing up to a 40% improvement in the life of their gland packing when they use our P4 ring sets in accordance with our installation and pump start up procedures,” Jadow said.

“Installation of gland packing is equally important for effective performance of seals.

“Hence, we have developed the tools and resources that maintenance technicians will require for installation of the packing that draws on the experience and knowledge of our qualified Seal Innovations technicians.”

Providing adequate training to customers for on-site installation and pump start up procedures is another area where Seal Innovations is active in engaging heavy industry.

According to Jadow, Seal Innovations’ technicians regularly conduct training programs for workshop staff and fitters on-site to share their slurry pump expertise with them.

“Our qualified technical staff have years of experience in performing overhaul, repair and refurbishment of slurry pumps,” he said.

“In addition to providing in-house services to repair and refurbish damaged seals, we also have CNC machines for the design and manufacture of custom sealing solutions based on customer requirements.”

 

Seal Innovations Slurry Pump Package

  1. Gland Packing products
  2. Gland Packing installation procedures and tools
  3. Slurry Pump Mechanical Seals
  4. Water Management System to be used along with mechanical seal
  5. Bearing Isolators
  6. Rotary Seals*
  7. O-Rings *
  8. Lantern Rings*
  9. Shaft Sleeves*
  10. Gaskets (Manufactured locally and can be customised)

*Available in all sizes, profiles, design, and materials

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.